“The Metropolitan Opera and the union representing its stagehands reached a contract deal early Wednesday morning, clearing the last major hurdle before the company could go ahead with its coming season of operas,” reports Michael Cooper in Wednesday’s (8/20) New York Times. “The Met’s management, whose demand for concessions sparked the worst labor strife at the opera house in decades, abandoned its threat to lock out workers… The union, Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents stagehands, carpenters and electricians, was the third of the opera house’s three major unions to reach an agreement. The unions representing the Met’s orchestra and its chorus made deals early Monday morning … Those unions—the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the chorus, singers, stage directors and others, and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra—agreed to four-year deals. The workers in those two unions agreed to a 3.5 percent wage cut, followed by another 3.5 percent reduction in six months—either as a further wage cut or a negotiated change in benefits. In the second half of the fourth year they would get a 3 percent raise. The Met agreed to cut administrative costs, and to cut $11.25 million of other expenses from its budget each year. … The cuts by labor and management were expected to help the Met, whose annual budget is more than $300 million a year, cut $90 million worth of expenses over the next four years.”

Posted August 20, 2014